Think Twice Before You Say “Cheese”! 18% GST to Fix Your Smile: AAR
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The Maharashtra bench of the GST Authority for Advance Ruling (AAR) has recently ruled that cosmetic treatments will not constitute dental healthcare services and will be liable to 18% GST. Cosmetic treatments include teeth whitening, the application of veneer, and other such services. 

The ruling was sought by Jyoti Ceramics, a company that runs a dental clinic in addition to manufacturing and supplying ceramic materials that are used for making dental crowns and artificial ceramic teeth. Some of the services that were provided at the dental clinic included bleaching or teeth whitening and the fixing of dental veneers. In the latter case, thin custom-made ceramic shells are affixed to the teeth to cover their front surface and improve their appearance. This treatment is also known as a smile-fixing treatment. 

The AAR, in its ruling, has differentiated between dental services comprising healthcare services and those that constitute cosmetic treatments. Services falling under healthcare will be exempt from GST, while the latter will be subjected to 18% GST. 

Healthcare services under GST are of the nature of diagnosis and treatment of any illness, injury, abnormality, deformity or pregnancy under a recognised system of medicine in India. It also includes transportation to and from a clinical establishment. However, cosmetics treatments do not fall under healthcare, except if the same was carried out to reconstruct the anatomy or function of the body due to congenital defects, injury, trauma, or development abnormalities.

The AAR also held that the fixing of artificial teeth, crowns and bridges will be liable to nil GST provided it falls under the healthcare services category and is not a cosmetic treatment. It is to be noted that AAR rulings do not set a judicial precedent but could have a persuasive effect in similar cases.

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